Beautiful French Polynesia is an archipelago in the South Pacific. There are 118 islands and atolls in it, and each one has its own special attractions and activities. French Polynesia has a variety of attractions for visitors, including high peaks, lush green forests, and crystal-clear oceans.
A collection of islands and atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia is renowned for its tropical temperature, breathtaking natural beauty, and extensive cultural history. The Society Islands, which are situated in the country’s center, are one of the five archipelagos that make up the nation. Two of the most well-known islands in the Society Islands are Raiatea and Moorea, each of which has its own special attractions and activities.
The Society Islands’ second-largest island, Raiatea, is frequently referred to as the “Holy Isle.” The island is home to old maraes and sacred locations that provide insight into the traditional Polynesian way of life. In addition, Raiatea is renowned for its magnificent waterfalls, high peaks, and verdant woods.
On the other hand, Moorea is a much smaller island that lies close to Tahiti. The island, also known as “the magical island,” is renowned for its azure lagoons, white sand beaches, and breathtaking coral reefs. Moorea is a well-liked honeymoon destination because of its opulent resorts and enchanting ambiance.
With a wide variety of things to experience and vistas to discover, Raiatea is a nature lover’s heaven. There are numerous hiking paths on the island that lead to lush green forests with stunning views of its peaks and valleys. The Taputapuatea Trail, which passes through the island’s historic spiritual center, is one of the most well-liked hiking routes. The walk provides breathtaking views of the verdant interior of the island, as well as the surrounding lagoon and nearby islands.
The only navigable waterfall in French Polynesia, the Faaroa Waterfall, is one of the breathtaking waterfalls on the island of Raiatea. A boat journey up the Faaroa River will bring visitors to the base of the waterfall, where they may swim in the glistening pool and take in the breathtaking environment.
Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling are just a few of the water-based activities available on the island’s pristine lagoon. A wide variety of marine life, including vivid fish, rays, and sharks, may be found in the lagoon. Guests can rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the lagoon at their own speed, or they can embark on a snorkeling excursion to see the coral reefs and aquatic life.
Raiatea is also home to a number of maraes, historic religious structures that provide light on the island’s vibrant past and present. The most important place of worship on the island and former political and spiritual hub of all of Polynesia is the Taputapuatea marae. Guests can look around and discover more about the prehistoric Polynesian civilization.
Moorea is a popular vacation spot because of its gorgeous beaches and turquoise lagoons, which make it a great place to unwind. Temae Beach, which offers spectacular views of the neighboring island of Tahiti and crystal-clear waters, is one of the island’s busiest beaches. A number of upscale resorts are located on the beach and provide access to a wide range of water sports and activities for guests.
Sharks, rays, and other kinds of fish are among the marine species that may be found on the coral reefs of the island. Many of the island’s resorts provide snorkeling and scuba diving programs that allow visitors to explore the reefs. Moorea is a well-liked location for whale watching cruises due to the presence of numerous kinds of dolphins and whales in the lagoons surrounding the island.
Stunning hiking routes on Moorea are especially well-known for providing beautiful views of the island’s peaks and valleys. The Belvedere Lookout, which gives sweeping views of Opunohu Bay and Cook’s Bay, is one of the most well-known routes. All ability levels can enjoy the reasonably simple trail.
Moorea provides a variety of traditional Polynesian excursions and shows for visitors seeking a more cultural experience. Visitors get the opportunity to study traditional dance and music as well as other aspects of Polynesian culture at the Tiki Village Cultural Center. Guests can also partake in a “feast of the gods,” a traditional Polynesian meal that features regional specialties including roasted pig and poisson cru (raw fish cooked in lime juice and coconut milk).
Both Raiatea and Moorea provide a range of lodging choices, from opulent resorts to affordable guesthouses. The Raiatea Lodge Hotel and the Opoa Beach Hotel are only two of the luxurious resorts on the island of Raiatea. Private beaches, infinity pools, and on-site restaurants serving regional and international cuisine are just a few of the amenities available at these resorts.
Luxury resorts on Moorea, such the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa and the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, are well-known. Private beaches, overwater bungalows, and a variety of water sports and activities are all available at these resorts.
Both Raiatea and Moorea have a selection of guesthouses and bed & breakfasts for people on a tight budget. These lodgings are frequently found in more remote, quieter parts of the islands, giving guests a more genuine, local experience.
From traditional Polynesian fare to international cuisine, both islands offer a variety of eating alternatives. Tuna, mahi-mahi, and lobster are among the fresh seafood specialties of the islands. Together with regional specialties like poisson cru, tourists may eat French-inspired cuisine.
Practical Information and Tips
There are a few practical things to think about when organizing a trip to Raiatea and Moorea. The dry season, from May to October, is the ideal time to go. Temperatures during this time of year normally range from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and are dry and sunny.
French and Tahitian are the official languages of French Polynesia, however English is also commonly spoken in the tourist areas. The French Pacific Franc (XPF) is the official currency, but most establishments also accept major credit cards.
It’s crucial to respect the traditions and culture of the locals when visiting Raiatea and Moorea. When visiting places of worship, dress modestly and take off your shoes. The maraes should not be touched or removed because they are revered places. Avoid touching the coral reefs while swimming and snorkeling because they are delicate and easily harmed.
When exploring the islands, it’s also critical to be mindful of any potential dangers. The hiking trails can be difficult and steep, so be sure to bring lots of water and wear the proper boots. Be mindful of strong currents and potential dangers like jellyfish and sea urchins when swimming and snorkeling.
Last but not least, be ready for French Polynesia’s high expense of living, particularly while dining out and staying in upscale resorts. But, there are also affordable choices accessible, such guesthouses and neighborhood food trucks.
For travelers to French Polynesia, Raiatea and Moorea offer a singular and remarkable experience. These islands provide something for everyone, from the emerald lagoons and breathtaking coral reefs of Moorea to the lush green woods and majestic peaks of Raiatea. The rich history and culture of the islands, from the historic maraes of Raiatea to the indigenous dances of Moorea, can be explored by tourists. Visitors may guarantee a safe and polite trip while taking advantage of all that Raiatea and Moorea have to offer by arming themselves with useful information and advice.
Raiatea and Moorea are two islands you shouldn’t miss if you’re seeking for excitement, relaxation, or cultural immersion. These islands provide a glimpse into the natural beauty and cultural heritage of French Polynesia, from hiking through thick jungle to swimming in crystal blue lagoons. Visitors can customize their journey to fit their preferences and budget thanks to the range of lodging and food alternatives. So prepare to explore Raiatea and Moorea by gathering your belongings, sunscreen, and a boat!
Our Top FAQ's
The best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. The weather during this time is typically dry and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Raiatea is known for its lush jungles and ancient maraes. Popular activities include hiking through the jungle, visiting the maraes, and exploring the island’s coral reefs.
The traditional Polynesian feast is known as a “feast of the gods.” It includes local delicacies such as poisson cru (raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk) and roasted pig.
Visitors should respect the local culture and customs, dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and avoid touching or taking anything from the maraes. Hiking trails can be steep and challenging, and swimming and snorkeling require awareness of potential hazards. Visitors should also be prepared for the high cost of living in French Polynesia.